A pop of summer color

When I looked out the kitchen window this time last year, I knew what was missing: color in the backyard flower bed.

Not this year.

The bold red of these crocosmia flowers are visible. Yes! All the more impressive since the flowers themselves are maybe 2 inches. (I’ve been spreading them out from their initial spot at the corner of the house; should I do more?) They also pair really nicely with the yellow flowers in a shrub that anchors one end of the bed. Which the bees were all over tonight.

red pop in backyard july 2016

 

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The garden before the black-eyed susans take over

The black-eyed susans are starting their annual invasion. This year the phlox are showing signs of spreading too, despite some mildew and munching by the deer. And those coneflowers!

Bees are happy, butterflies are happy, hummingbirds are happy. I’m happy!

Some shots on what is supposed to be a scorcher of a day:

butterfly on coneflower 2

phlox front

phlox and day lily

phlox and black-eyed susans

phlox, coneflower, butterfly

The lovely crocosmia are now in three or four spots, and they need to be divided again this fall (well, some of those baby bulbs dug out with fingers?).

crocosmia july 19 2015 002

crocosmia july 19 2015 006

 

side bed with red, red, white

Dividing the amsonia (below)  could add the feathery leaf structure to another spot. More phlox (white!)  needed in the center of the long front bed. Daisies from the side bed could work too.

divide the amsonia in the fall

And I WILL break up the black-eyed susans into sections, promise!

 

End of summer

Catching up after a hectic two-plus months.

The black-eyed Susans, which dominate the front bed, have been in bloom since mid-July. They’re now rapidly fading, but they kept the garden looking bright. How many can I give to neighbors?

Mass of black-eyed Susans

Phlox, purple coneflowers and black-eyed Susans. Lot of phlox and coneflowers this year:

Phlox and purple coneflower with black-eyed Susans

Ornamental grass and black-eyed Susans (told you they were everywhere):

Ornamental grass with black-eyed Susans

Daddy long legs on a black-eyed Susan:

Daddy long legs and black-eyed Susan

Spider’s web (with foliage from black-eyed Susans in the background):

spider's web

A fall-blooming clematis with a sweet scent, along the deck:

white clematis

in July, one of our three varieties of bee balm:

bee balm

Crocosmia under the mimosa tree:

red crocosmia

The potato crop, which we felt was disappointing. Did we not mound enough? Or do we need to find a fresh spot?

potatoes

We have a glut of peppers, mostly Portuguese hots, and have had plenty of tomatoes, especially sungolds. But we also discovered some truly sweet tomatoes that look just like sungolds. Now to find out the name of them from the Brit’s colleague!

Leeks still to come. Need to use up all that basil and turn it into pesto. We still have greens, though something gets into the caged bed every once in a while and munches. And we’ll see how the fall crops turn out.

First Day of Summer Blooms

It is too hot! I can’t believe I am hoping for rain to cool things off! As long as it doesn’t rain on Saturday, when my town is having a garden tour. I’ve put in our flowers and vegetable beds, weeds and all! I’m glad to see that there are many others listed that aren’t designer gardens. The Brit will check out the others while I stay behind to chat with visitors. Wonder how many will come?
Among the blooms I noticed today are two roses from the $1 clearance rose we bought at Lowe’s two years ago. It’s still small, but I am just delighted that we have two blooms. So I had to photograph them in case the deer discover them tonight!

I’m hoping the crocosmia will be blooming by Saturday. What do you think of my artistic photo? I’d never noticed this color pattern.

I’ve also noticed my globe thistles (not quite sea holly but am definitely warming up to their texture) and a second patch of them and a small, fading yellow version of my red-hot pokers. (The red ones already have a line waiting for divisions!)

Fall clean-up

Busted out: one of the few vegetables still going is this zucchini plant, which has escaped the raised bed.
Busted out: one of the few vegetables still going is this zucchini plant, which has escaped the raised bed.

As the weather cools down, we’re starting to tweak the garden. But making room for one plant often cascades into lots of moves (or expanding beds). The magenta bee balm in front of the garage window is gone, moved to the iris bed visible from the kitchen window (that now has lots fewer irises) and to a bump-out near the front door, which we hope will add height to the end of the flower bed. A few crocosmia bulbs have been transplanted in the hope of getting some red zing and height mid-summer. To make room for a red currant against the deck, some astilbe moved into the iris bed. The siamese yuccas next to the garage are no more; one has gone to the back bed in the back yard. Some of the salvia that was too close to the similarly-colored catmint has been moved further down the path with the idea of creating some color repetition. Hopefully all these plants (and others) will like their new homes. Still to do: create more drifts of black-eyed Susans for more yellow pop in September. And then let’s see what the informal plant swap in a few weeks brings. More musical chairs?
Hmm… That area in front of the dining room, once named the death zone because we’d managed to kill black-eyed Susans there, needs a rethink. The bees love the calaminta, but it needs some color.

Newest blooms

Some shots of what’s come out in the past week or so, or is just starting to bloom

Cardinal lobelia -- love that red!
Cardinal lobelia -- love that red!
Hostas are flowering (our New Orleans souvenir, a Caladium, is in the lower right)
Hostas are flowering (our New Orleans souvenir, a Caladium, is in the lower right)
Will this shrub (a Hypericum) soon be covered with yellow flowers?
Will this shrub, a Hypericum, soon be covered with yellow flowers?
The most vivid of the astilbes now in bloom
The most vivid of the astilbes now in bloom
Shot's a bit fuzzy, but I think I will love potentilla. Great deep red! Only question is I know I bought more than one. Where did they go?
Shot's a bit fuzzy, but I think I will love potentilla. Great deep red! Only question is I know I bought more than one. Where did they go?
Some flowering tobacco we grew from seeds. It blooms in the evening and has a nice scent. Hope it self-seeds (and we don't pull the plants thinking they are weeds)!
Some flowering tobacco we grew from seeds. It blooms in the evening and has a nice scent. Hope it self-seeds (and we don't pull the plants thinking they are weeds)!
This is a red, not orange, crocosmia, with tall, spikey foliage. It's a member of the iris family. I'd like to transplant them to a more prominent location.
This is red, not orange, tall, spikey foliage and a member of the iris family. I'd like to transplant them to a more prominent location.
A melange of yarrow. Not sure how it happened, but I like it!
A melange of yarrow. Not sure how it happened, but I like it!
Euphorbia in bloom
Eurphorbia in bloom